Together with Christian Wirrwitz I will give a talk at GAP.9 next week (Tuesday 14:15): “Optimism and the Value of Truth”. Our starting point is a type of conversation we probably all have taken part in several times in our lives (both in the role of A and in the role of B): A and B are talking about some episode of their past or future lives. A paints it black, B reprimands A for being such a pessimist. A replies that she is not a pessimist, but a realist. Three observations about this type of conversation are important to us:
- Optimism is assumed to be good, at least by B.
- Having true beliefs (aka realism) is assumed to be good, at least by A.
- These two values are assumed to clash with each other, otherwise A’s reply wouldn’t make sense.
Drawing on several ideas (self-fulfilment and feedback loops, semantic indeterminacy, rejection of uniqueness/underdetermination principle) we offer an explanation of how optimists can value truth and need not be epistemically irrational.
For the full show come along on Tuesday (or have a chat with us at GAP.9)!